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The Basics: What goes into Compost

Updated: Feb 9, 2021

Composting requires simple ingredients to be successful.


  • Fruit and vegetable waste

  • Bread

  • Coffee grounds and filters

  • Shredded paper

  • Shredded cardboard

  • Pasta without sauce

  • Egg shells, crushed

  • Grass clippings

  • Leaves

  • Garden trimmings or waste

  • Jack-o-lanterns

  • Weeds

  • Hair from hair brush or pets

  • Oatmeal

  • Nut shells

  • Pizza boxes - shredded


  • Meat

  • Butter

  • Sauces

  • Bones

  • Feces

Things added to the compost need to be broken down to a usable size. You are relying on micro and macro organisms to break down the waste and turn it into usable material, they often need a little help to speed up the process.

Just like any living thing, what your compost needs is:

Food: The materials you put in.

  • Moisture: Enough so that your pile feels like a damp sponge.

  • Air: The pile does need to be turned once a week or once a month depending on how quickly you want your pile to break down.

To start your pile, put a base of dry material:

  • Carboard

  • Leaves

  • Dry Grass

  • Shredded paper or paper towels

  • Dry weeds or garden trimmings

Follow up your layer of dry items with a layer of wet items or green items:

  • Fruit and vegetable waste

  • Bread

  • Jack-o-lanterns

  • Squash

  • Anything that seems to have excess moisture that goes in your compost

To avoid smells in your compost and ensure that breakdown happens quickly, cover the wet layer with another layer of dry material and give your compost a spritz with the hose.

Each time you add a new layer of wet materials, make sure they are covered with dry materials to help hold in heat and break items down faster as well as keep large critters out of your pile.

After a week or two turn your pile with a pitch fork or a manure fork. Repeat these steps as often as you would like to help your pile break down.

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